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Survivor finale recap: Island of the Idols comes to an end

S39 Finale Image
Jeff Probst hosted the season finale of Survivor: Island of the Idols. Pic credit: CBS

The Survivor: Island of the Idols finale aired on Wednesday night. It began with five people still competing to win the $1 million prize.

During the last episode, Elaine Stott was eliminated at Tribal Council. Then, in the final moments, it was revealed that Dan Spilo had been kicked off the show.

Lauren Beck, Janet Carbin, Dean Kowalski, Noura Salman, and Tommy Sheehan were the final five castaways and all of them had a great shot at winning the season.

Below is the Survivor finale recap, covering the three-hour presentation that CBS aired on December 18.

Rob and Sandra host the final five

All five cast members were boated out to the Island of the Idols, where Tommy finally got to meet Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine for the first time. After some discussions, it was hinted that an Idol might be in play before Rob and Sandra jetted off.

The final five enjoyed their feast and not enough of them appeared to really care about finding the final Hidden Immunity Idol. Dean found it, giving him a safety net as the next Tribal Council approached.

Reward and Immunity Challenge

An obstacle course was placed in front of them, with the winner getting a dinner of steak, potatoes, and salad.

Dean won the challenge and got to bring one person with him. He chose Noura. Having food this late in the game is usually a huge deal.

First Tribal Council of finale

Janet was pretty confident as the group headed to Tribal Council. She kept mentioning that she had an Idol in her possession, but she didn’t know that Dean had an Idol Nullifier.

Janet even constructed a plan to have people vote against her so that she could then target Lauren. It backfired. Janet played her Idol, Dean nullified it, and Janet was sent to the Survivor jury on a 4-1 vote.

Final Four Immunity Challenge

In the game to decide the first person to join the final three, we got another unexpected result. Noura Salman won Individual Immunity and guaranteed herself a spot in front of the jury during the finale.

Noura had all the power as she debated what to do next. She then revealed her decision — Noura took Tommy to the final three and forced Dean and Lauren to battle it out in the fire challenge.

Survivor Fire Challenge

Dean won the Fire Challenge. This was expected. He knew what he was doing heading into the challenge and it never seemed to be in question. Lauren was sent to the jury, relegated there by someone (Naura) who was supposed to take her to the end.

The final three castaways on Survivor: Island of the Idols were Dean Kowalski, Noura Salman, and Tommy Sheehan.

Jury deliberation and vote

Dean, Noura, and Tommy got to sell themselves to the jury and answer questions about why they should become the Survivor 39 winner and take home the $1 million cash prize.

When host Jeff Probst read off the votes, the results were very one-sided. Tommy Sheehan received eight of the 10 jury votes to win the show.

Dean Kowalski received the votes of Aaron and Elizabeth, while nobody voted for Noura in the end.

During the Reunion Show, it was revealed that singer Sia gave $15,000 to Jamal Shipman and $100,000 each to Elaine Stott and Janet Carbin. She is a huge fan of the show and felt they deserved something.

That’s it for Season 39. For fans who want to look ahead, here is a cast list for Season 40, which debuts in February.

Survivor returns with new episodes on CBS in February 2020.


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